This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their list, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
KEXP: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #338: Save It For Later by The Beat/English Beat.
The early 1980s was quite a time for music in the UK. The Punk Rock scene was fully establishing itself (with groups like The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Buzzcocks, Soiuxsie and the Banshees all making names for themselves). Alternative/New Wave Music was flourishing (with bands such as Joy Division/New Order, Depeche Mode and Yazoo all doing well). Reggae was well-entrenched in the culture of the land (with bands such as Madness, The Specials and, the subject of today’s post, The Beat, all taking turns having hit songs and successful concert tours).
Within the Reggae Music scene, there were various sub-genres of music being played. Some of these sub-genres included Ska, Rock Steady and Tu-tone. These sub-genres stretch all the way back to the Island of Jamaica. In each case, there are common musical bonds between the sub-genres but, there is differentiation, as well, that allows each variation or style of music to have fresh, unique aspects to it. A comparative example, from closer to home, would be the sub-genres of Country and Western music that sees performers play styles such as Bluegrass, Rockabilly and Honkytonk…..all distinct variations but, all recognizable as Country music.
“The Beat” were considered to be a Tu-tone band because the members of the bands were both, black and white, with both races featured in prominent roles within the band and within each song they played. The band formed in Birmingham, England in 1978 and originally consisted of Dave Wakeling (vocals/guitar), Ranking Roger (vocals), Andy Cox (guitar), David Steele (bassist), Everett Morton (Drums) and, very importantly for this band, Lionel Augustus Martin (on Saxaphone). They had a string of hits such as “Twist and Crawl”, “Mirror in the Bathroom”, “Can’t Get Used to Losing You” and “Save It For Later”. There is some confusion about the band’s name. In the UK and most of the world, they are known as “The Beat”. However, in North America, because there was already a band with that name in existence, they were dubbed “The English Beat” in Canada and the US. If you were to look them up on YouTube, for example, you would find much more material available under the moniker, “The English Beat”.
As for today’s song, “Save It For Later”, it came from their third and final album, “Special Beat Service”. It was written by singer Dave Wakeling as a teenager and dealt with the wealth of free advice he was being given about Music and Life by family and armchair critics early in his career before he even had a chance to experience these things for himself. His admonishment to those putting in their two cents was to “Save It For Later”, until he tried things his way and saw how it worked out. When I heard this song, I was impressed by how “tight” the band was, musically speaking. When I saw the video I am about to share with you, I was even more impressed that they could pull off the same level of musicianship live as they did in the studio. For what it is worth, I feel that “The Beat/”English Beat” is a highly under-rated band, in terms of who we come to think of when we start talking about the best bands of the 1980s and 90s. Dave Wakeling has a beautiful, rich singing voice and played it off of Ranking Rogers vocal style very well. So, get ready to have your day get markedly better by watching, listening and moving to the wonderful music of “The Beat” with “Save It For Later”. Enjoy.
The link to the video for the song, “Save It For Later” by The Beat, can be found here.
The link to the official website for The Beat, can be found here.
Thanks to KEXP for always supporting good music; regardless of genre or sub-genre. The link to their official website can be found here.